Singapore’s NEA, Twitter and Cicero: It’s a Matter of Style Reply


2000 years ago Cicero asked, “why almost every age has produced a peculiar style of speaking?”  It seems Singaporeans are revisiting this question in the 21st century when today’s Straits Times asks if the National Environmental Agency (NEA) should write “3 hour PSI at 1pm was 72 and at 2pm its 67. Fallen sumore… 🙂”  or “Peeps, PSI still 94 as at 10am” in its Twitter account (NEAsg).  Advocates of the high style think these messages are inappropriate while others see Twitter as an informal channel so using the low style is cool.

A few things come to mind.

  • Languages are living things, thus will evolve.
  • We must write in a way that is appropriate for our audience.
  • Twitter is an informal channel of communication.
  • Bureaucratic speak is boring.

I am glad to see NEA loosening up a bit and writing in a way that is generally accepted by the Twitter community.  The old schooler in me still has a preference for proper spelling, but this is nothing I will spend a single moment worrying about. 

The good news is that these two tweets generated some earned media for NEA, and in the last three hours 40+ people have added NEA and are now following. All in all, the timing is right (considering the PSI issues in Singapore) and I hope the comms team keeps pushing forward.

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